Book Review: The Best Kept Secret by Tawna Fenske

About the Book:

Title: The Best Kept Secret

Author: Tawna Fenske

Series: Where There’s Smoke

Publication Date: Feb. 22, 2022

Publisher: Entangled

Synopsis: Nurse Nyla Franklin knows three things to be true. Taking care of others brings more joy than a basket full of kittens. A triple-fudge sundae can cure just about anything. And no good ever comes from keeping a secret… So when her best friend spills his biggest one ever, Nyla knows she’s not just holding a secret. She’s holding a ticking time bomb.

Mr. Always Does the Right Thing Leo Sayre knows three things to be true. Piloting smokejumpers over burning forests is the best job in the world. His best friend Nyla is the smartest, funniest, and okay, sexiest woman ever. And pain meds are apparently his truth serum. Now his post-surgery confession has everything flipped upside down and turned inside out… including his relationship with Nyla.

Secrets have a way of piling up, and it’s just a matter of time before someone lights a match. Because while the truth can set you free, it can also burn completely out of control…

LINKS:   Goodreads   |    Amazon

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My Review:

The Best Kept Secret is the third book in the Where There’s Smoke series, and, like the others, is a standalone. I found this book hard to review. I thought it was well-written, and the characters are dynamically developed and layered. I also like a lot of the themes. However, there are a couple of things that just weren’t for me.

Leo and Nyla are layered and interesting main characters. Leo is a wonderful man. Kind, generous, and caring, he is also really brave and a great dad. He has a lot of admirable qualities and is everything I love in a romantic hero. Nyla is great too. Fun, giving, loving, and a bit awkward, she can’t keep a secret to save her life. Both go through a lot over the course of the story, most especially dealing with the secrets they both carry.

I like Leo and Nyla’s chemistry and that they have a strong friendship as a foundation for their budding romance. Even before they admit their feelings, they show each other in so many ways how much they care for each other. And I like them together. They make a great couple. However, I struggled to get past the fact that Leo is Nyla’s sister’s ex-husband. This is one of my least favorite tropes, and I probably wouldn’t have read the book if I had known those were the dynamics. It makes for such complicated situations, especially with kids involved. How do you fall in love with your sister’s ex? It feels like such a betrayal, especially considering how close Nyla and her sister seem to be.

There is another part of the story that involves a secret Leo has been keeping. This further complicates an already complicated situation and adds so much more to the family drama. It’s interesting to see how each character deals with and faces the truth. It threatens to change everything, and there is a lot on the line for all of the characters.

Overall, The Best Kept Secret is an engaging story with likable characters, and I think this book will appeal to readers of contemporary romance even though it wasn’t the best fit for me. Thanks so much to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for giving me a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.


Favorite Parts:

  • The fun banter and silly moments.
  • The character development.


Readers who enjoy contemporary romance might enjoy this book.

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